Dana Farrington | KALW

Dana Farrington

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged Thursday that President Trump expected concessions from Ukraine's president in exchange for engagement — but said that's just how business is done in diplomacy.

Mulvaney was asked whether it was a quid pro quo for the White House to condition a meeting between Trump and Ukraine's president on an agreement by Ukraine to launch an investigation that might help Trump politically.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged several substantial facts about the Ukraine affair on Thursday — but disputed that it was inappropriate or that the administration even was trying to hide what it had done.

Mulvaney acknowledged that President Trump expected concessions from his Ukrainian counterpart in exchange for engagement and also that Trump had empowered his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to run what has been called a parallel foreign policy for Ukraine on his own.

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is speaking to Congress behind closed doors on Thursday as part of the House's impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

In his prepared remarks, the former businessman says: "as we go through this process, I understand that some people may have their own specific agendas: some may want me to say things to protect the President at all costs; some may want me to provide damning facts to support the other side. But none of that matters to me. ... Simply put, I am NOT here to push an agenda. I am here to tell the truth."

Updated at 12:33 p.m. ET

President Trump said Monday that his door might be open for meetings with Iran's president and China's leader as he concluded his visit to the G-7 summit in France, but it isn't clear what if any action may come next.

Trump said he believes Beijing "wants a deal very badly" to end its trade war with Washington and that he'd consider meeting with Iran's president if Tehran came to terms over its nuclear program.

"If the circumstances were correct or right I would certainly agree to that," Trump said.

The Senate intelligence committee has released its report on foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The report, which also includes recommendations for future security, came out the day after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified about his office's investigation into Russian attacks.

Mueller and intelligence officials have warned that the threat from 2016 persists, though Congress has been slow to take action.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

President Trump announced an executive order on gathering citizenship information, a shift from an earlier effort to get a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.

Trump spoke alongside Attorney General William Barr, who praised his decision.

Sen. Cory Booker is "a big fan" of researcher and speaker Brené Brown. The Democratic presidential candidate embraces Brown's mantra that vulnerability is a strength — and his openness shows on the campaign trail.

Booker regularly tells the story of one of the most painful moments of his life, which happened when he first became the mayor of Newark, N.J.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr declined to appear before a hearing scheduled on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee following hours of sometimes tough back-and-forth on Wednesday in the Senate.

The chairman of the House panel, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said that Barr was risking a contempt of Congress citation and that he would go ahead with his planned hearing — with an empty witness chair if necessary.

Attorney General William Barr has released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to Congress and the public.

The special counsel spent nearly two years investigating attacks on the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians behind it.

Leaders of the Justice Department have sent a summary of Robert Mueller's main findings to key members of Congress. The special counsel's office completed its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election on Friday.

The Russia investigation has ended, and special counsel Robert Mueller's report is now in the hands of Attorney General William Barr. Barr sent a letter on Friday notifying Congress that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election had concluded.

Following Justice Department regulations, Barr addressed his letter to the leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees.

Read the text of the letter below.

Updated at 7:26 p.m. ET

In a stunning reversal from comments he made just one day prior, President Trump said on Tuesday "there's blame on both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

President Trump said he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House "at the right time" when asked by a reporter on Air Force One Wednesday night.

"I don't think this is the right time, but the answer is yes I would," he said, according to a pool report released on Thursday. "Look, it's very easy for me to say absolutely, I won't. That's the easy thing for me to do, but that's the stupid thing to do."

President Trump's fiscal plan released on Tuesday claims to balance the budget deficit while cutting funding for safety net programs like food stamps and increasing defense spending. Read more about budget' aims.

President Trump pledged to "confront anti-Semitism" at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony on Tuesday. His remarks at the U.S. Capitol follow a number of controversies relating to anti-Semitism and his administration.

President Trump has released a budget blueprint outlining increased military spending and cuts across other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department. Congress will still have to draft a formal budget, but the plan released Thursday by the White House indicates the president's priorities. Read the full document below.

Updated with announcement

President Trump has named R. Alexander Acosta as his replacement for labor secretary nominee. Trump's earlier pick, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination on Wednesday afternoon after losing support on both sides of the aisle.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that it was "highly likely" that the Senate Intelligence Committee would look into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador in December regarding sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

McConnell would not directly answer whether he was confident that Donald Trump did not direct Flynn's conversation on sanctions.

"You ought to ask the White House those kinds of questions," McConnell said.

For Michelle Obama, this election is about the kids. On the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, the first lady wove her vision for the next generation with her hope for the next president.

The Kansas Supreme Court has rejected lawmakers' attempt to fix the state's education-funding problem. The court has said that schools will have to close if the Legislature does not correct inequity in the system by the end of June.

After reviewing the lawmakers' changes, the justices concluded, "Disparities among the districts remain inequitable and unconstitutional."

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET.*

Dr. Henry Heimlich didn't hesitate. When a fellow diner started choking, the 96-year-old was ready to perform the maneuver that he invented.

This year's Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be "near-normal," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. The season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

Louisiana's hate-crime protections now cover law enforcement and first responders. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the legislation on Thursday after it had passed easily in the Republican-controlled Legislature, NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

Baylor University has removed Ken Starr as president and suspended head football coach Art Briles amid the release of a report critical of how the school has treated allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

Texas, joined by a number of other states, has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration in response to its directive that public schools allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

The plaintiffs include Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, Georgia, the governor of Maine and the Arizona Department of Education.

The Justice Department says it will seek the death penalty against Dylann Roof, accused of fatally shooting nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., in June 2015.

"The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

The NFL announced three new sites for upcoming Super Bowls on Tuesday. Atlanta will get Super Bowl LIII in 2019, South Florida will host the following year and Los Angeles will have 2021.

The league had previously announced that the championship game would be held in Houston next year and in Minneapolis in 2018.

A judge in Pennsylvania ruled Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence for a sexual assault case against comedian Bill Cosby to move to trial.

The arraignment is set for July, Bobby Allyn of member station WHYY reports.

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